Lt. Gov. Bryant challenges state residents to get in shape

JACKSON – Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant is challenging Mississippians to change their lifestyle so the state is no longer identified as the most unhealthy and most obese in the nation.
To help with that challenge, an online, interactive 12-week program called Your Heart is in Your Hands has been developed by the National Lieutenant Governors Association. Mississippi is the 15th to sign up to participate in the program.
“I envision Mississippi not as the most obese state in the nation, but as a model,” Bryant said Tuesday at a news conference where he was joined by members of the medical community and Hank Bounds, Higher Education commissioner.
The free 12-week program can be accessed at www.ltgovernorschallenge.us. Participants will earn points for healthy lifestyle activities and obtain a gold, silver or bronze medal at the end of the 12 weeks.
The program is important, Bryant said, because research shows that changes in lifestyle, such as eating healthy, getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, can reduce heart disease and high blood pressure.
Heart disease, Bryant said, kills more people than cancer, HIV/AIDS and accidents combined. And Mississippi, state Epidemiologist Mary Currier said, has the highest rate of heart disease and the highest rate of deaths from heart disease.
“Certainly, the Heart in Your Hands program will benefit the residents of Mississippi by encouraging them to make those healthy choices when it comes to diet and exercise,” Currier said.
By changing lifestyles, heart disease risks are lowered by 82 percent.
“Heart disease is all about risks and the risks can be altered,” said Thad Waits of Hattiesburg, president of the Mississippi Chapter of the American College of Cardiology.
Bounds said he is going to challenge university staff and students to get involved in the program.
“Students are much more likely to be successful if they are healthy and fit,” Bounds said.

Contact Bobby Harrison at (601) 353-3119 or bobby.harrison@djournal.com.

Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal